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Friday, December 19, 2014         

RAINBOW BASEBALL


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'Bows' next foe: unranked but dangerous

By Billy Hull

POSTED:



Unlike the Hawaii baseball team's first two opponents, there isn't a number that precedes Loyola Marymount.

That doesn't mean the Rainbows shouldn't expect another tough series.

Hawaii (3-4) hits the road for five games in five days starting today with the first of four against the Lions (7-2), whose only losses are to UC Riverside and No. 7 Cal State Fullerton.

"It's definitely not a week off for us," junior right-hander Matt Sisto said. "It's going to be a challenging week with five games in five days and it'll be a good test for us to see how we respond to that."

Sisto did his usual thing against No. 6 Texas last week, pounding the strike zone and allowing just one earned run in six innings.

Hawaii's lone established returning starter, Sisto has gone at least six innings and hasn't walked a batter in both starts this year.

RAINBOWS BASEBALL

» Who: Hawaii (3-4) at Loyola Marymount (7-2)

» Where: Page Stadium

» When: Today through Sunday, 11 a.m.

» TV: None

» Radio: None

» Probable starters: UH — Matt Sisto (0-1, 2.19), Connor Little (0-0, 2.70), Alex Capaul (0-1, 3.18), TBA; LMU — Jason Wheeler (1-0, 2.63), Alex Gillingham (1-1, 3.38), TBA, TBA

 

He wasn't the only pitcher locked in over the weekend as Hawaii allowed only five earned runs in the three-game series against the Longhorns.

Junior Connor Little, who will start tomorrow's game, bounced back from a rough outing against Oregon with six shutout innings.

Senior Alex Capaul, who will start the third game of the series, threw four innings of one-hit ball on Sunday, and Zach Gallagher got the win with three shutout innings in UH's 15-inning victory Saturday.

"I think everyone takes it as encouragement that if you put in the work, you'll gets some success out of it," Sisto said. "But it's really just a steppingstone to the next week and really all that matters is that we come out and do it again on the road."

UH has a 2.78 team ERA, with only one of the 10 pitchers it has used this season sporting an ERA more than 3.60.

That depth will be key this weekend as Hawaii has to manage five nine-inning games in as many days. Sisto, Little and Capaul are the only announced starters and how they do will determine what options Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso has for the final two games of the trip.

"Our job as starters is to eat up innings and put zeros on the board," Little said. "Keeping us in the game and giving us a chance to win at the end is key because our offense showed that as long as it's close, they can pull it out."

For three years, Little has shown the potential in practice to be a No. 1 starter, but struggled to display that form in game situations.

Against the Longhorns, Little commanded his fastball for strikes, walking only one, and his natural talent took over as Texas only managed three hits off of him.

"Coming out here and showing the team that I can get the job done was big for me," said Little, who knows he still hasn't pitched to his full capability.

"I definitely had a good outing, but especially with my slider command and keeping the ball in the cup, there's a lot I can improve on to make myself better."

 

EXTRA INNINGS

Only Monday's game against Long Beach State will be broadcast on radio. KKEA 1420-AM planned on using a local broadcast from LMU, but the students running it canceled yesterday morning. ... Texas remained No. 6 in the Baseball America Top 25 after winning two of three against UH. Oregon dropped to No. 15. Future ranked UH opponents include Cal State Fullerton (No. 7) and Fresno State (No. 24). ... WAC teams New Mexico State, Fresno State, San Jose State and Louisiana Tech are a combined 26-4, and the Aggies (8-0) are the only undefeated team. The Spartans won two of three games over the weekend at No. 5 UCLA.






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